The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has suspended the supply of petroleum products to filling stations within 20 kilometres of all the nation’s borders.
The NCS made this known in a circular signed by its Deputy Comptroller-General, Enforcement, Inspection and Investigation (EII), Chidi Augustine in Abuja on Thursday.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the circular was addressed to all Zonal Coordinators, Operation Swift Response, Sector Coordinator 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Others are Customs Area Comptrollers, Coordinators CCG Strike Force Teams, Coordinator, Headquarters Strike Force Team, and All Marine Commands.
“The Comptroller-General of Customs has directed that henceforth, no petroleum product no matter the tank size is permitted to be discharged in any filling station within 20 kilometres to the border.
“Consequently, you are all to ensure strict compliance please,’’ part of the circular read.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the service, Mr Joseph Attah, said the directive was to check proliferation of petroleum products smuggling to some neighbouring countries.
NAN reports that in April, the NCS, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Department for Petroleum Resources (DPR) met and resolved to set up joint committee to address smuggling of petroleum products to neighbouring countries.
The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) said the meeting was to address the disturbing situation of smuggling of petroleum products outside the country.
Ali disclosed that after briefing by the heads of NNPC and DPR, they resolved to set up a joint task force comprising Customs, DPR and NNPC to tackle the problem head on.
He explained that some unlicensed filling stations along the borderline had been identified as being responsible for the smuggling of petroleum products.
According to him, the task-force will ensure the closure of such unlicensed filling stations as well as address other means used to smuggle petroleum products.
He said that with the collaboration, licensed filling stations sited along the borders would also be monitored.
“This collaboration is important, we have the force but we need intelligence and information sharing to deal with this menace, we need a real time intelligence to nip this in the bud.
“We have 4,070 kilometres borders and it has been a challenge managing these borders effectively, and this underscored the need for us to collaborate with agencies like NNPC and DPR,’’ Ali explained. (NAN)